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patches of light, streaming through the casements of some tavern on its banks, or reflecting the glare of the lamps on the bridges, and the scattered lights from the vessels, which lined the shores on either side.
Humphrey was doomed to disappointment, for Basil's landlady informed him, as soon as he alighted, that Mr. Metham was not at home; that he had been obliged to go out, but that he had left word he should be back again in the course of the evening, and that he had given orders to prepare dinner for Mr. Berrington, when he should arrive. Humphrey was cold and weary, and tired, and he enjoyed the brightness and genial warmth of the sea-coal fire, as he lay stretched out in a large easy chair, after he had dined off a devilled turkey's leg, and had got rid of a small bowl of fine punch, concocted by the landlady.
Humphrey felt so like falling asleep from the effects of all these creature comforts, that he got up and took a turn about the room with the view of arousing himself.
A pretty clear insight into the tastes and mode of life of its occupant that room offered. Suspended over the mantelshelf was an engraving of some favourite racer; opposite, a picture of two game cocks, finely executed in every point, down to the deadly steel spurs fastened to their heels, often two inches long. In one corner stood a rapier; and, on a small table beside it, a brace of pistols, a pack of cards, and a dice-box. Humphrey looked in vain for any trace or sign of more innocent objects of diversion. One of Voltaire's foul works seemed almost the only book in the room. A copy of the "Winchester Courier " lay upon a chair. Humphrey took it up-here were more game cocks. A woodcut of two attacking each other, and an advertisement, headed “Cocking," and running as follows:-" To be fought, at the Blackmoor's Head," at Alton, in the County of Hampshire, the great main of cocks, betwixt the gentlemen of Hampshire and the gentlemen of Wiltshire, to show 41 cocks on each side, for ten guineas a battle; two hundred guineas the main, and ten on each side for 'byebattles' for two guineas a battle. To weigh the 15th of April, and fight the three following days."
With an expression of sorrow and disgust Humphrey threw himself into his seat again, and remained buried in his own sad reflections, till the sound of loud voices beneath the window roused him from his painful reverie. A clamorous knocking at the door then ensued, which was speedily opened, and Humphrey heard footsteps on the staircase, and a cracked discordant voice, singing the following snatch of a popular Bacchanalian song,
"When Bibo thought fit from this world to retreat,
He waked in the boat, and to Charon he said,
He would be rowed back, for he was not yet dead."
Here the singer ceased, and the deep, rich, bass voice of Basil ended the song, just as Humphrey opened the door to meet him
"Trim the boat, and sit quiet,' stern Charon replied,
"Ah! my prince of good fellows!" exclaimed Basil, saluting his friend, with an exuberance of spirits which made the latter conjecture he was not quite sober. "I cry your pardon, for not meeting you at the trysting-place, and for leaving you here in solitude in my poor lodgings; but Fortune has smiled on me tonight, Humphrey, as my good friend, Tommy Tomkins, here, can testify."
The person thus addressed advanced into the room, and, without taking any notice of Humphrey, took from his pocket a small hand-mirror, and began to survey himself therein, somewhat to the amazement of the cashier.
He was a young man of about twenty-two years of age, richly dressed, but with miserably bad taste: a plun-coloured coat, with innumerable large gilt buttons; cuffs cut in the shape of a sea officer's uniform, which, together with the pockets, boasted no less than twenty-four buttons; the skirts remarkably long; a scarlet waistcoat, double-lapelled, bordered with narrow gold lace; a pair of doeskin breeches, that came half-way down his legs, and were almost met by a pair of shoes, that reached above three inches above his ankles; his three-cornered hat, decorated with a gold button and loop; his hair very short behind, and thinned above the neck, to show a jewelled stock buckle of no ordinary dimensions; an immense long rapier dangling at his side; and, to complete the picture, he carried a little rattan cane in his hand, and by an apparent prominence in his left cheek, made a merit of chewing tobacco.
"How now, Sirrah ?" cried Basil ; "art so lost in the contemplation of thine own fascinating countenance that thou dost not see my friend?”
"See him? oh, aye! Is't the king's jester? Methinks, with that prominence, he wants but the cap and bell."
Silence, thou addle-pated wretch!" thundered Basil, sobered by this insolent reflection upon his friend; "or I'll make thee eat thy words on the point of my rapier."
"A challenge!" ejaculated the vulgar fop, trying to steady himself on his feet, and attempting to draw his sword.
"For Heaven's sake, Basil!" exclaimed Humphrey, placing
himself between the two men; "do not let this trifling insult, to which I am, besides, perfectly indifferent, be the cause of embroiling you in a quarrel.”
"No offence! 'pon honour! meant no offence," ejaculated Mr. Tomkins, whose sword seemed very reluctant to quit the scabbard.
Basil laughed derisively, and then said to the cashier, "You need not fear embroiling me in a quarrel with him; his rapier is only for ornament, and he would not have had the courage to make a pretence of drawing it, had he been sober; but the pints of claret he has been imbibing at the tavern have given him a temporary appearance of bravery."
"He likes his joke," drawled the fop, as he leant against the chimney-piece; "he's always at the head of the club at our tavern. What club would you like to be a member of?" he added, addressing Humphrey, with tipsy gravity. "There's the Fat Club; the Duelling Club-that's a club I'm not vastly fond of myself; and the Ugly Club. I'll warrant I could get you admitted to that one."
"Get you gone, you chattering monkey!" exclaime Basil, who understood the fresh shaft directed at Humphrey. "Did I not know you had left what little sense you have at the bottom of your last pint of wine, I would cane you first, and kick you downstairs afterwards. However, go your way while your skin is sound." "You are in a mighty bad temper, to-night, to-night," said Mr. Tomkins, hastily preparing to leave the room, "and you have not been over civil; but I am generous and forgiving. I shall forget all about it before to-morrow -I'll not call you out."
'Children and drunkards speak the truth," said Humphrey, with a sad smile; "those who are not used to see my unsightly form must be shocked, though they have the good feeling to hide their real sentiments. But, never mind, Basil, I have that within me which enables me to bear any little reflection cast upon my poor deformed body, without being much affected thereat."
"You say right, Humphrey Berrington," replied Basil, earnestly, for never did any form enshrine a more pure or noble soul; however," he added, relapsing into his usual tone of levity, "let us to other more lively topics. I arose this morning a beggar, and to-night I am the possessor of two thousand pounds! honestly won, man," he added, laughing at the look of perplexed wonderment on the cashier's face-not even by an extraordinary run of luck at cards; for I know you don't consider gambling honest. No! it has been a simple gift from Dame Fortune. She has been, hitherto, very niggardly with me; it was time she should make amends, In short, I have won in a lottery! I staked
one paltry guinea, and have won two thousand pounds, which I have in my pocket, in good bank notes!"'
"I rejoice at your success, Basil; but I wish it had come to you in any other way," replied Humphrey, in a grave, warning voice. You know my opinion of lotteries-where one man draws a prize, a thousand draw blanks to the end. Many are totally ruined: they go on staking their money, time after time, in hopes of retrieving what is already lost-and it is only throwing away good money after bad."
"Oh!" interrupted Basil, hastily, "I am not the only winner in Sharman's lottery. They paid a thousand pounds last month to a gentleman at Basingstoke, in our own county, and all he had laid down was half-a-guinea."
"And of what avail are these temporary successes, Basil?" said the cashier; "they do but encourage men to make fresh trials and speculations, and they quickly lose all they have won, and more too. These lotteries are only another species of gambling. I have a horror of them, for I know well they have caused the ruin and downfall of many."
"Well, I shall speak up for them," answered Basil; "they have stood me in good stead. I dare say you have brought that two hundred pounds I wanted, Humphrey, for I know you would not abandon me in my need; but, however, I don't require it. I can pay my debts myself; so, you see, that here the lottery has wrought a positive good."
Humphrey shook his head. "But not a lasting one, Basil. On the contrary, I fear it will do you harm rather than good. I need not ask you if you mean to pay off your debts with this money, and come and live quietly at Winchester?''
"No," replied Basil, hastily. "I am in for a run of good luck
You wouldn't have me turn back just as the tide is setting in my favour? Why man, with this two thousand pounds I can go to the gaming-table
"And lose it," interrupted Humphrey.
"And win a fortune with it, rather," answered Basil pettishly. "I tell you I shall have some good luck now, and I'll venture a small stake or two-no more-while Fortune smiles on me. to Field's, in the Strand, to-morrow night.
"Basil, how I wish I could save you!" exclaimed the cashier, in a tone of anguish-"save you from the ruin which I foresee with painful distinctuess-save you from the detestable company into which you have fallen, the gamesters and profligates who are luring you on to destruction! I would sacrifice all I have, the most precious in the world, to do this. I would make myself a slave if by doing so I could release you from your bonds. You are never
absent from my thoughts by day, nor my dreams by night; and you can hardly imagine how much I suffer for you: because, Basil, I have loved you with a strong, yearning love, as though you had been a dear brother—and dear to my heart and soul you are, both for your own sake, and for that of your parents and your dead priestuncle. They saved the poor Hunchback from poverty and suffer. ing; they educated him, clothed him, fed him, made him what he is, made happy the last years of his mother's life, saved his sister from hardship and privation. Oh, Basil! let me show my gratitude, let me pay off some fraction of this great debt. They did all for me; let me do something for you. Leave London with me; let me save you from those associates, whose companionship must end in your destruction. Let me work for you; I will toil night and day in your service. These men, such as he you parted with to-night, would pull down your fortunes-I, your poor deformed friend, would build them up. I do not want you to court my society, but only to turn your back upon these, your worst enemies."
The cashier paused, overcome by the violence of his emotion; and Basil paced up and down the room with rapid strides, then he came and placed himself before Humphrey, and clasping his hand said
"My friend, every word you have spoken has been like a stab to my heart. I acknowledge the truth of all you say; my companions are my bane, they will not let me reform-what they will make of me in the end I know not, nor do I care to know; but one thing is certain-I cannot change my mode of life, I cannot renounce my friends, as I call them. I am like the opium eater; I know my danger, but still I love and court it. There are some moments, when I think with scorn of the wretches I live with, but such impulses are fleeting and transitory. It is useless, Humphrey; I cannot change."
"Oh, Basil, Basil!" groaned the cashier, "is this life worthy of the descendant of those men who bled and suffered for their faith and loyalty in bye-gone days? Think of the dauntless priest, who was drawn to Tyburn on a hurdle, and slaughtered in the reign of the pitiless Elizabeth; or the brave loyal soldier, whose skull bleached over the gates of Temple Bar for his devotion to the unfortunate Stuarts. Look at what these men gave up and sacrificed. Try and win some of their heroism; death only severed their chains, but yours you can break at will."
"Would that I could!" replied Basil almost fiercely; "but I have told you a hundred times, Humphrey, that I cannot quit my present mode of life. A spell is upon me. Go you back to Winchester; you can do me no good. If I had not been a hardened reprobate," he added, with a tone of despair, "the prayers of that